Winter Storm Clouds


The Kansas State University Olathe campus is closed tomorrow because of the weather, still not sure if the campus here in Manhattan will be open or not.  I’m guessing it will be business as usual. Last week we got hit pretty good, maybe 7-8 inches of snow, not the 12-15 I was expecting and kinda hoping for, but I didn’t waste what “little” we had.  It started out as just a small group of us friends throwing snowballs at each other but it morphed into this epic snowball fight with like 20 people!  It was a lot of fun.

Anyway, with all this snowy weather we’re having, I decided to post this image.  I actually took this back in January.  I think I was on my way to class or on my way to the office.  I was carrying my camera, using my Carry Speed Strap, so it was handy and easy to get to.  I take my camera with me everyday, but I usually have it in my bag, and I’ve found that unless I have it out of the bag, even if I have it with me all the time, I’m not going to take more photos.  That’s why I got the Carry Speed Strap, so I could easily carry it outside the bag and be ready to take and make photos.

This photo is a HDR image.  I used Photomatix Pro to merge three DNG RAW photos bracketed from -2EV to +2EV.  I then imported the merged or tonemapped image into Aperture 3 (I use Aperture 3 to manage all my photos).  I did a few adjustments in Aperture like exposure and added contrast using curves.  I lightened certain parts of the image with the dodge tool, just brushing it in on parts of the lamp-post and some of the snow.  I also used the intensify contrast brush (I really like this one!) to darken the clouds in the background a bit more and make them stand out a bit.  I then used Nik Color Efex Pro Aperture plugin to bring out some more detail and add some “brilliance” to the photo.  The last step was to send it to Photoshop for sharpening with the unsharp mask filter.  That was pretty much it.

Winter Storm Clouds

 

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/10
3 image HDR, bracketed from -2 EV to +2 EV

 

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A Peek Into Fantasy Land


It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow so I was originally planning on posting some photos of flowers that I took last summer and fall, but I was a little disappointed with how the red roses turned out.  Some of the shades of red were blown out, having no detail.  I could get it back by under-exposing but then that messed up the rest of the image.  Anybody have any ideas on how to take photos of red flowers?  Do I need a different lens?

So, instead of doing a Valentines post, I came across this image I shot back in October.  It was a beautiful, autumn day, and I had just received a new lens, the DA* 16-50 mm and I was excited to test it out, so after class I went for a walk around the K-State campus. This was one of the images I came back with.

I framed this image so that the arch would frame the scene and add depth to it, giving it a three-dimensional look.  What I really like about it, is that the scene behind the arch looks like a fantasy land.  It’s like looking through this window into a completely different world.  What do you think?

Do you see that cone-shaped roof of the building in the background?  That’s the same one that’s in my earlier post called The Lonely Tower.

A Peek Into Fantasy Land

Big 12 Football Championship: Rushing the Field


This was taken just after the Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Texas Longhorns to secure the Big 12 Football Championship.  Fans (mostly the student section) rushed the field and although it probably wouldn’t have happened, the group of people wearing yellow jackets were stationed around the goal posts to protect them from being taken down.  The reason I wasn’t down on the field was because I wasn’t able to get a press pass to shoot the game from the sidelines.

This panorama was processed using the same technique in the tutorial I wrote.  If you haven’t yet, make sure to check it out.  I’m quite surprised how well this image turned out.  I was shooting in bracket mode, hand holding the camera (no tripod), had the ISO up to 1600 and people were moving all over the place, but there really isn’t any ghosting in the photos.  Photomatix Pro does a really good job of removing it and aligning the source images.  I used to use the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3, but I stopped a few weeks ago and started using Photomatix Pro because the results are so much better.  You can see the difference here.  The only disadvantage to using Photomatix Pro is that I have to export the original files from Aperture and process them in Photomatix Pro and then import the results back into Aperture, but it’s worth the extra hassle.

2012 Big 12 Football Championship Celebration

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/11
15 images stitched into a HDR Panorama using Photomatix Pro and Photoshop

Do you think this image is good enough to get into the student yearbook?

180° Panorama – Dev Nelson Press Box: Imploded


Morning, early, cold, cloudy, on December 15, the day we had to move out of the dorm for Christmas break, that was the day the Dev Nelson Press Box at Bill Snyder Family Stadium was taken down.  There was a crowd there as this was somewhat of a historical moment.  The view wasn’t very good from the side, where security kept us behind the line.  Only a few, privileged individuals, were allowed on the east side of the stadium to watch the implosion with an unobstructed view.  University cameras were stationed at all the best spots, capturing both stills and video, the rest of us, well… we could see through a gap on the north-east corner.  So, I didn’t get a great shot of the actual implosion, just the results, after we were allowed into the stadium.

From the highest point on the east side, I setup, inline with the 50-yard marker, I took 36 shots from left to right, 180°.  I divided it up into 9 sections, taking 3 bracketed shots per section, from -2EV to +2EV.  Merged the bracketed photos of each section in Photomatix Pro, then stitched the merged images in Photoshop to get the panorama.  I then straightened, cropped, and applied adjustments in Aperture, Photoshop, and Color Efex Pro.  After several hours, here are the results.
180 Degrees: Dev Nelson Press Box Demolition

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 400
Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/11
36 images stitched into a HDR Panorama using Photomatix Pro and Photoshop

I am planning to post somewhat of a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.

Sunset on a Farm


I enjoy shooting into the sun and trying to capture it right before it disappears.  Notice how flat this place is?  That’s south, central Kansas and boy are the sunsets beautiful there.  I also like the tractors!  The one on the left is hooked up to a planter, incase you were wondering.

I actually processed this photo a couple of months ago and decided to reprocess it, this time using Photomatix Pro instead of the Photomatix Aperture Plugin.  I think the results are better this time. A lot cleaner for sure.  I like it.

Sunset on a Farm

Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens: DA* 16-50
ISO: 80
Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f/13
HDR Composite using 6 photos from -3 EV to +4 EV
Merged using the Photomatix Plug-in for Aperture 3